The Perfect GIF of "Adulting"


One of my students recently shared with me this gif of "adulting," the process of having to figure out how to become an adult and beginning to act like an adult, whether one really wants to or not.

Here are the three things I love about this gif:

1. The word adulting is a verb, a process of doing certain actions that signify a transition into adult roles. That this gif is about an escalator in motion is the perfect visual for the action of adulting.

2. Adulting and the life stage of emerging adulthood imply a degree of closeness with being an adult while also implying a distance from yet having fully become an adult. The man on the escalator appears to be a normal adult for the first second but then quickly begins to look more like a child as he tumbles backward. This is the part that, even after having viewed this gif many times, still makes me chuckle.

3. Transitioning to adulthood can be an intentional process, and certainly there are a number of choices that people have to make in the process of growing up: what job to take, whether to pursue more education, who to date, and where to live. But at the same time, the word adulting also implies a degree of forced movement into adulthood. I love that the escalator here shows this, carrying the person on up whether they want to or not. Sometimes becoming an adult can feel this way, and it helps to laugh at the process.

Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, IUPUI  I  psherzog@iupui.edu

©2020 Patricia Snell Herzog, Indianapolis, IN, USA All rights reserved.

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